Checkpoint Charlie is surely the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin. But is it worth visiting?
The name comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie). The other crossings were at Helmstedt-Marienborn (Alpha) and Dreilinden-Drewitz (Bravo). The crossing was the only area where East Germany (DDR) allowed foreign visitors, diplomats and military personnel to pass into the Soviet sector of Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War especially so during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 which culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall.
After the fall of the wall in 1989, the checkpoint was decommissioned in 1990. What you see now is a copy of the guardhouse and sign. The guardhouse here looks just like what you would have seen in 1961, not what was there in 1989 at the end of its lifetime.
You won’t find any remains of watchtowers, death strip or anything else associated with the old border. Purely souvenir shops, a fake Checkpoint Charlie and the chance to make some €€€. So basically don’t bother with it. Take a photo from afar, and get out and see the real historic Berlin.
Where to go besides Checkpoint Charlie?
The real guardhouse that had worked as Checkpoint Charlie can be found at the Allied Museum in Berlin-Zehlendorf. This museum is free to visit.
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